How should I treat my pets during coronavirus lockdown? Dr Hilary answers your questions

AS coronavirus continues to claim lives many of us have been left in a state of nervousness.

Despite the lockdown, we are all trying to continue as best we can with our everyday lives.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

 It is hard to know how to treat your pets during the coronavirus lockdown
It is hard to know how to treat your pets during the coronavirus lockdownCredit: Rex Features

Your need for Covid-19 answers has been reflected in the questions you have sent us for Dr Hilary Jones to consider.

At the latest count we had received more than 10,000.

Today, Dr Hilary – health editor for ITV’s Good Morning Britain and Lorraine – tells Emma Pietras who is high risk, and how you should treat your pets in the emergency.

 Dr Hilary Jones is here to help Sun readers and answer your coronavirus questions
Dr Hilary Jones is here to help Sun readers and answer your coronavirus questionsCredit: Rex Features

Q. I have dementia. Am I classed as vulnerable or high risk?

A. Dementia does not put you at greater physical risk of coronavirus but the way in which dementia might affect you could potentially put you in harm’s way. For example, it might be easier to forget that you should not have visitors or have close contact with somebody making deliveries to your door.

Routines like hand washing might not be thorough enough. Stay home, physically distance and make a list of the things you need to do to keep yourself safe.

Q. When do you expect people will build up enough antibodies not to catch the virus a second time?

A. We cannot be sure yet how long immunity takes to be established and how long it lasts because this is a very new virus. It is thought that antibodies will be measurable after about 28 days. Immunity should be present straight after the acute illness when symptoms have disappeared.

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Q. Can you catch the virus from hanging your washing out on the line?

A. No. You should be absolutely safe doing this. The virus needs a human host and fresh air kills it quickly.

Q. Is it still safe to cuddle and kiss my cat?

A. The virus does not easily jump species and I have seen no evidence that cats and dogs have become unwell with this infection. If somebody with the virus sneezed or coughed over your pet there is a slight chance the virus could be transmitted from their fur to you. Frequent hand washing should take care of that and you can safely cuddle your pets.

Q. I work on a supermarket checkout and have Achalasia. Am I in the high risk group and should I be working?

A. You are not in a high-risk group. Your condition is mainly a digestive one. You just need to take the same precautions as everyone else.

Q. I work for M&S. After every shift I shower and wash my work clothes. I have heard that I have to wash my hair too. Is this correct?

A. The chances of any coronavirus to which you have been exposed living for any length of time on your hair is very remote. Clinically speaking I don’t think there is a need to wash your hair every day.

Q. Can you catch coronavirus from people vaping?

A. The virus is present in the exhaled breath of someone who is infected. The vapour from vaping liquids would neither make ithe virus more transmissible nor kill it off. The same would apply to cigarettes.


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Q. I have aches in my neck, a sore throat and a tickly cough. Is this just a normal cold or should I isolate?

A. If the tickly cough is dry, unproductive of phlegm, persis- tent and not something you have had before you should self- isolate to be on the safe side.

Q. I’m suffering bad anxiety and my chest is uncomfortable. I’m scared it’s coronavirus. What should I do?

A. Many people are very anxious at the moment and that often causes altered breathing. Some people breathe too fast when they feel panicky and others just become overly conscious of what is normally an unconscious activity. In the absence of other symptoms, try to relax, distract your mind from worry, exercise gently and phone a trusted friend to share your feelings.

Q. How do I get my monthly prescriptions delivered? I am over 70, plus have an underlying illness.

A. Contact your usual pharmacy, where your regular prescriptions are issued. Many have already set up a delivery service to people in your position and in the last few days the Government’s health and social care secretary has pledged millions of pounds to assist this process for other chemists. You should not need to worry about supplies.

Q. I have heard people who have had the virus are being told they can return to work after seven days. Is this long enough if they are still coughing?

A. The guidance is if you live alone and have been self-isolating for seven days then feel completely well you can resume your normal activities. This is true even if you still have a dry cough as it is considered you will no longer be shedding the virus when you cough.

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